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André De Shields Stars in ‘Hadestown’ on Broadway
By Margrira, Contributing Writer
Published April 21, 2022

André De Shields – in “Hadestown” (Courtesy Photo)

One of the greatest thespains to ever step foot on a Broadway stage is  André De Shields, who has enraptured audiences with his award-winning portrayal of Hermes in “Hadestown.”

He will play his final performance in Broadway’s Tony Award®-winning Best New Musical on Sunday, May 29. Casting for the role of Hermes will be announced at a future date.

For his portrayal of the messenger of the gods, De Shields won the 2019 Broadway triple crown, receiving the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award®, and Outer Critics Circle Award®. He also received a Grammy Award® for Best Musical Theater Album for the show’s Original Broadway Cast Recording.

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His legendary run in Hadestown coincided with his 50th anniversary as a performer, having made his professional acting debut in the 1969 production of Hair in Chicago.

Anaïs Mitchell, Hadestown’s Tony Award-winning writer said, “It was the privilege of a lifetime to work with André, our original Broadway Hermes. What can I say? He blessed us all. He blessed the character, the show, and the community with the full force of his majestic self. Not gonna lie, we’re all gonna be in mourning for a while at the Walter Kerr. But a wise man once said, ‘The top of one mountain is the bottom of the next…’ Keep climbing, your majesty, we love you forever.”

In addition to De Shields, the Broadway cast is led by Jewelle Blackman as Persephone, Grammy Award winner Reeve Carney as Orpheus, two-time Tony Award nominee Eva Noblezada as Eurydice, and Tony Award nominee Patrick Page as Hades. They are joined by Soara-Joye Ross, Jessie Shelton, and Kay Trinidad as the Fates.

The chorus of Workers is played by Emily Afton, Malcolm Armwood, Trent Saunders, Grace Yoo. The cast includes swings Tara Jackson, Tomás  Matos, Sayo Oni, Yael “YaYa” Reich, T. Oliver Reid, and Davis Wayne.

The show originated as Mitchell’s indie theater project that toured Vermont which she then turned into an acclaimed album. With Chavkin, her artistic collaborator, Hadestown has been transformed into a genre-defying new musical that blends modern American folk music with New Orleans-inspired jazz to reimagine a sweeping ancient tale.

Following two intertwining love stories — that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife Persephone — Hadestown invites audiences on a hell-raising journey to the underworld and back. Mitchell’s beguiling melodies and Chavkin’s poetic imagination pit industry against nature, doubt against faith, and fear against love. Performed by a vibrant ensemble of actors, dancers, and singers, Hadestown delivers a deeply resonant and defiantly hopeful theatrical experience.

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Hadestown is the most honored show of the 2018-2019 season. In addition to the show’s eight Tony Awards, it has been honored with four Drama Desk Awards, six Outer Critics Circle Awards including Outstanding New Broadway Musical and the Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical.

Hadestown marks the first time in over a decade that a woman has been the solo author of a musical: writing the music, lyrics, and book, and is the fourth time in Broadway history a woman has accomplished this creative feat. It also marks the first time in Broadway history that a show’s female composer and female director both won Tony Awards for their work.

Hadestown is produced by Mara Isaacs, Dale Franzen, Hunter Arnold, and Tom Kirdahy and the creative team features Tony Award winner Rachel Hauck (set design), four-time Tony Award nominee Michael Krass (costume design), two-time Tony Award winner Bradley King (lighting design), Tony Award winners Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz (sound design), Obie Award® winner and Chita Rivera Award® winner David Neumann (choreography), Liam Robinson (music direction and vocal arrangements), Tony Award winners Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose (arrangements and orchestrations), Ken Cerniglia (dramaturgy), and Stewart/Whitley (casting).

Starting Tuesday, April 26, the play will make its West Coast debut at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre. For the latest tour route and other information, please visit: www.hadestown.com/tour

Hadestown electrified audiences with its 2016 world premiere at New York Theatre Workshop, which is the longest-running show in that celebrated theater’s 40-year history. The production then received its Canadian premiere at Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre in 2017 and then a 2018 sold-out engagement at the London’s National Theatre prior to Broadway.

Hadestown was developed with funding from the Eli and Edythe Broad Stage at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center and was further developed by The Ground Floor at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Hadestown was co-conceived by Ben t. Matchstick.

 

Categories: Entertainment | Theater
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